I want to start by saying I am not from Longview, but my daughter and her mother call it home. I am, however, a veteran of three foreign wars, and I spent 20 years putting my life on the line for your city, our great nation and millions more around the world that didn't have the means to stand up and fight for themselves. This past weekend I had the distinct honor to once again serve — in your community and the less privileged that also call Longview home.
On that cold night, I helped serve coffee and hot chocolate underneath the gazebo at City Center. The only thing more appalling than their living conditions was the fact your city council used it as a platform to score political points during an election year. The same divisiveness that has paralyzed our nation was on ugly display as members of the Republican Party stood on one side and volunteers from Love Overwhelming and genuinely kind citizens on the other. What I didn't see was the leadership needed to bring both sides together to effect real change for your city. Instead of offering bi-partisan solutions for the homeless, your mayor seemed more concerned people weren't asking questions about sidewalks (seriously?). If we truly want to make our nation great again, we need to start by addressing the "us versus them" mentality that is tearing us apart...the very idea that citizenship trumps humanity is un-American and it goes against everything service members fight and die for all over the world.
Lt Col Terry R. Barenberg
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United States Air Force (Ret.)
Newport News, Virginia